How to Enable Accessibility Features on w3m Browser

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How to Enable Accessibility Features on w3m Browser

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

How to Enable Accessibility Features on w3m Browser

Get SigmaOS Free

It's free and super easy to set up

How to Enable Accessibility Features on w3m Browser

Web browsing has made accessing information and entertainment easier than ever before. However, the experience is not the same for everyone. There are users with disabilities who face challenges while using regular browsers, making it difficult for them to browse the web seamlessly.

Fortunately, w3m browser comes as a handy solution for those looking for better accessibility options. This article is a comprehensive guide on how to enable and customize accessibility features in w3m, so everyone can enjoy effortless web browsing irrespective of their abilities.

Understanding w3m Browser and Its Importance for Accessibility

What is w3m Browser?

w3m browser is a free, text-based browser that can be used in the command line interface. Developed mainly for Unix-based systems, this browser is designed with the aim of providing a fast and straightforward browsing experience for users. Although its interface may seem outdated, it's still a popular choice among users looking for a browser that's easy to use and doesn't require a lot of system resources to operate.

One of the significant advantages of using w3m browser is its speed. Since it's a text-based browser, it doesn't have to load images or other multimedia content, making it much faster than traditional web browsers. This feature also makes it an excellent option for users with slow internet connections or limited bandwidth.

Another advantage of using w3m browser is its simplicity. The browser's interface is minimalistic and easy to navigate, making it an excellent choice for users who prefer a no-frills browsing experience. Additionally, since it's a command-line browser, users can quickly launch it from the terminal and start browsing without having to go through multiple menus or settings.

Why is Accessibility Important in Web Browsing?

Accessibility is crucial in web browsing as it ensures that everyone, including people with disabilities, can access and use online information. For instance, users with visual impairments might have trouble accessing web pages with an intricate layout or small fonts. Hence, it's vital to have a browser with robust accessibility features to cater to such users.

Moreover, accessibility is not just limited to users with disabilities. It also includes users with different devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, each with different screen sizes and resolutions. A browser with strong accessibility features can adapt to these different devices and provide a seamless browsing experience for all users.

w3m browser is an excellent example of a browser that prioritizes accessibility. It offers several features that make it easier for users with disabilities to browse the web. For instance, it supports text-to-speech functionality, which allows users with visual impairments to listen to the content of a web page instead of reading it. Additionally, it offers keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation, making it an excellent choice for users with motor impairments.

In conclusion, w3m browser is a powerful tool that offers a fast and straightforward browsing experience. Its accessibility features make it an excellent choice for users with disabilities, ensuring that everyone can access and use online information. As the internet becomes an increasingly essential part of our lives, it's crucial to have browsers like w3m that prioritize accessibility and inclusivity.

Getting Started with w3m Browser

Installing w3m Browser

Before you can start enjoying the accessibility features in w3m browser, you need to install it on your computer. Installing w3m on Unix-based systems is straightforward, and it involves using the terminal. Run the following command in your terminal to install w3m:

  1. sudo apt-get update

  2. sudo apt-get install w3m

After installing, launch the browser by simply typing 'w3m' in the terminal.

Basic Navigation and Commands

w3m browser's interface is primarily navigated through the keyboard. It has minimal visual elements, making it a perfect choice for screen readers and users with visual impairments. The basic commands that you need to familiarize yourself with include:

  • Arrow keys: to scroll up and down

  • Ctrl+b: to go back to the previous page

  • Ctrl+f: to go forward to the next page

  • q: to quit the browser

Knowing these commands is critical for users who prefer working with the keyboard, making it ideal for those with motor impairments.

Enabling and Customizing Accessibility Features in w3m Browser

Adjusting Text Size and Font

Adjusting text size and font is among the most critical accessibility features in w3m. It makes it easy for users with visual impairments to read content on web pages easily. To adjust the text size, use the following command:

  • Alt + +: to increase text size

  • Alt + -: to decrease text size

The font style can also be customized by modifying w3m's configuration file.

Enabling High Contrast Mode

High contrast mode helps users with color blindness to view web pages more efficiently. The mode changes the background color to black and the text color to white, making it easier to read. To enable high contrast mode, use the following command:

  • w3m -B 1

Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts

The keyboard shortcuts in w3m can be customized to suit your preferred navigation style. This feature comes in handy for users who require keys with different functionalities, making it easier for them to use the browser. To customize keyboard shortcuts, create a configuration file and assign preferred keybindings.

Using Screen Readers with w3m Browser

Screen readers are critical tools for users with vision impairments. w3m browser is compatible with screen readers, making it convenient for users who prefer using screen readers to navigate web pages. To use a screen reader with w3m, enable the "speech synthesizer" option.

Navigating Websites with Accessibility Features Enabled

Accessing and Navigating Web Forms

Web forms can be complex for visually impaired users. w3m has a feature that allows its users to navigate web forms easily. The feature enables you to move to different form elements using the tab key, and you can input values using the keyboard.

Utilizing Alternative Text for Images

Alternative text is text that substitutes images on a website, allowing users with visual impairments to comprehend the content of a web page. w3m browser supports alternative text, and you can enable it by modifying its configuration file.

Handling Multimedia Content

Handling multimedia content such as videos and audios can be daunting for people with hearing impairments. w3m has a feature that provides an alternative way of accessing multimedia contents, making it easy for such users. The feature allows users to download multimedia files and access them offline.


Enabling accessibility features on w3m browser is pretty straightforward, and it's a great way to make the web experience more enjoyable for users with disabilities. It's a low-resource browser with features that cater to the needs of people with disabilities. It's, therefore, an excellent browser for everyone to consider.